But Is It Divine?

The root of the word divination is “divine,” meaning “resembling God or a god in qualities such as power, beauty, or benevolence.” I have encountered readers who are convinced that their every utterance is a direct communication from a Higher Power via their private psychic channel. My suspicion is that many of these people are converts from a conventional religion who still feel the need for some kind of spiritual “stamp of approval” on their forays into the Intangible (to use Tchalai Unger’s all-inclusive term for the ethereal realms of existence). It would be nice to think that this heavenly endorsement is always forthcoming, since no prediction would ever go astray. But my experience has been that any form of prognostication that reliably produces results more accurate than a coin-flip (that is, 50-50) is exceptional. The evidence for the effectiveness of our efforts is all too infrequently “hard data;” if a client “feels good” about the outcome of a reading, we judge it a success and send them on their way. The one exception to this statistical deficiency (which is cold comfort to the sincere and honorable practitioner) that I can think of is the repeat sitter whose regular appearance at the reading table (or e-mail portal) provides  a “walking score card” of the diviner’s past successes and failures. Any empiricist will tell you that repeatability is the “gold standard” of experimental excellence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get many of those since most of my clients have been one-shot “walk-ins.”

I doubt the self-styled intuitive reader every thinks these troubling thoughts. To such idealists, the world of Spirit is an open book that readily yields up its truths to the inquiring visionary who has the sensitivity to perceive it. All well and good, but my caveat is “Consider the source.” Let’s assume for the moment that one’s Deity is otherwise engaged at the instant of consultation (why would we assume that He, She or It is always at our beck and call?) Unless we fabricate them in our fertile imagination (not all that uncommon in my opinion), our inspirations and insights have to come from somewhere that is hopefully more substantial than the often confounding visual hints afforded by the cards. The most likely place is the Collective Unconscious, which we can tap with our subtle arts. My own impression is that access to this trove of tribal knowledge and wisdom occurs through the personal subconscious, either ours when self-reading or the sitter’s through the agency of shuffling the cards, which our interpretive skill then brings into focus for the purpose of the reading. Because understanding is a cognitive function, the act of rendering these intimations into useful language is as much an analytical process as a spontaneous, instinctual one. To my way of thinking, this modicum of structure offers a safeguard against throwing ourselves wide open psychically to whatever decides to come through. The Astral Plane, the age-old nemesis of the Ouija board crowd and considered by some occult scholars to be the abode of potentially inimical entities as well as “souls in transition,” is nothing to be cavalier about.  To steal Jimi Hendrix’s musical phrasing, we might well ask ourselves while walking this path “Is it God or just . . . Illusion?”

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